Sunday, March 6, 2011

Help Wanted: Election Commission

A “media alert” came in Friday when I was on vacation. Apparently, state Rep. Ryan Haynes and the rest of the Knox County Legislative Delegation are now accepting “letters of interest/resumes” for the Knox County Election Commission.

(Not sure why they didn’t save a few words and just say “applications.”)

Anyhoo, this is the first step, I suppose, to more election commission drama and current election administrator Greg Mackay’s fight to keep his job. Again.

I blogged about this awhile back. But here’s a quick rehash:

A few years ago, local officials urged the county’s state lawmakers to see to it that a Republican was appointed to Mackay’s job, in light of the then-new GOP-majority county Election Commission. (Mackay is a Democrat obviously or this wouldn’t be an issue.)

After a lot of publicity, the commission in a 3-2 vote kept Mackay.

That was only because one Republican on the commission – Paul Crilly – crossed over. People haven’t forgotten. So, it’s no surprise that Crilly is probably on his way out. I’m not sure if he’ll even re-apply for the job.

(The commissioners, by the way, serve for two-years and are not term-limited. They are appointed by the State Election Commission, based on recommendations from the state Legislative delegation. The Republican caucus makes the Republican selections and the Democratic caucus picks the Democrats.)

I think by now everyone knows that state Rep. Harry Tindell and state Rep. Joe Armstrong (both Democrats) plan to keep the same Dems – Cassandra McGee Stuart and Cameron Brooks – on the commission.

The safe bet, too, is on Chris Heagerty and Bob Bowman (both Republicans) sticking around.

So, we’re technically down to one replacement.

I haven’t been following this that closely, since we’re still a ways off, but I’ve heard a few names kicked around, including former county commissioner Greg “Lumpy” Lambert, who is now helping to run courtroom security and swears he’s not packing a gun. (I’m not buying this rumor. The part about him applying, I mean. I’m still not sure about the gun part.)

But, Brian Hornback has an interesting theory.

He’s hearing that local attorney E. Michael “Breezy” Brezina III will replace Crilly. Brezina apparently works with Heagarty, also an attorney. (I swear there’s a lawyer joke in here somewhere.)

That actually makes some sense.

As the Metro Pulse recently noted:

“Heagerty is close to county Mayor Tim Burchett and will likely have some influence with Burchett over picking the next commissioner. The Republican delegation is likely to listen to Burchett, their former colleague, in making the appointment. So Heagerty will likely make the choice to replace Crilly . . . .”
So, does Heagerty pick his co-worker (Brezina) to serve with him?

He might.

But I’m not sure what role, if any, Burchett will play. He’s told me in the past that he doesn’t want to get involved in it. And at this point, I think he’s got more on his plate than that. Like the budget.

Additionally, the administration’s chief of staff, Dean Rice, told me tonight that: “They have a strong election commission and the delegation and the commission will be working together on these issues. That’s their job. There’s not a role for us to be engaged in (on that issue).”

So, what happens now?

We wait, I suppose.

For the drama.

Once the delegation makes its selections, the commission some time in April will probably meet to discuss Mackay’s job.

The big, not-so-secret, rumor is that the group will have Mackay and his deputy (who seems to be attached to his hip) Scott Frith, a Republican, swap jobs. That way, the Republicans are in charge, but the office still has Mackay's experience.

Then again, maybe nothing will happen.

Regardless, if you’re interested in some local election office fun, send your “letters of interest/resumes” (and no, you apparently can’t email them) to:

Rep. Ryan Haynes
Chairman, Knox County Legislative Delegation
301 6th Avenue North
Suite 214 War Memorial Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37243

7 comments:

Political Leverage said...

does the commission appointee get paid?


The commissioners, by the way, serve for two-years and are not term-limited. They are appointed by the State Election Commission, based on recommendations from the state Legislative delegation. The Republican caucus makes the Republican selections and the Democratic caucus picks the Democrats.)

Mike Donila said...

I don't believe they do.

Anonymous said...

Do they receive any benefits package?

Anonymous said...

Rather awkward for Mackay and Frith, doncha think?

Political Leverage said...

http://www.knoxnews.com/data/county-employees-pay/?appSession=491205771405827
mike taken from the kns county employee payroll database he makes CRILLY, PAUL ELECTION COMMISSIONER $3,900.00 digging on the benefits package sending an email now

Mike Donila said...

Thanks, Dan.

Anonymous said...

Mackay needed to go for what he did a few years ago on the Knox Charter Petition. One of the ballots didn't make the threshold and Mackay extended the time deadline and approved faulty ballots to get the number needed. This is just a move to address a past deed that wasn't dealt with back then.